The WSJ has failed to update inaccurate headlines about cryptocurrency aiding Hamas. It’s no surprise that people in the Web3 doubt reporters’ role in establishing reality in the world.
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it,” the writer Upton Sinclair famously said.
So it is with those who continue to promote the notion that crypto donations fuel Palestinian violence.
Simply put, they refuse to embrace the reality because the falsehood is more convenient.
The Wall Street Journal misstepped last week when reporting that Hamas and other terror groups had received tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency and that the funds were being used to support the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict.
Blockchain analytics companies such as Chainalysis and Elliptic have now rejected the claim, claiming that the financing was likely in the thousands of dollars. But those comments haven’t convinced the Wall Street Journal to issue a correction, and they haven’t deterred important members of Congress, notably Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, from pushing for a sweeping crypto crackdown.
Recently, Brown, the influential Senate Banking Committee chairman, called for more action against terrorism financing, including bitcoin, and it appears that many members of Congress are now willing to accept that the mere presence of cryptocurrency benefits those who kill and maim. Following the WSJ revelation, 102 lawmakers wrote to the US Treasury Department last week, requesting details on what is being done to prevent the use of cryptocurrency to support terrorists.
Consider “impact journalism.” Even though the evidence supporting the WSJ allegation is blatantly incorrect, the report has produced a clamor in Congress to crack down on cryptocurrency.
According to Elliptic, whose data was misrepresented in the WSJ piece, the “most prominent public crypto fundraising campaign has been operated by Gaza Now, a pro-Hamas news organization.” And it’s only $21,000 – money that appears to have been entirely frozen by the authorities.
Nic Carter, a renowned VC and CoinDesk blogger, has spearheaded calls for the WSJ to withdraw its piece in order to prevent the idea of crypto supporting Hamas and others from taking hold. However, his campaign may be too late. Even if the WSJ is true, Congress has already ran with the idea, and facts in this type of situation tend to become meaningless. Hundreds of thousands of regular, casual crypto/Congress/Hamas spectators now believe something that is not true.
All of this explains why many in the crypto business have grown weary of centralized media. They’ve battled to receive balanced coverage over the years, and they’re instinctively hostile to journalists who portray them as truth priests when they clearly have an axe to grind.
This aggressive attitude has been difficult to bear at times. Most crypto journalists are working hard to get the story straight, and it’s difficult to be painted with a wide brush. Not all journalists are same, and not everyone in the cryptocurrency sector is Sam Bankman-Fried.
However, after watching the Hamas funding scenario unfold, it’s difficult not to sympathize with those in crypto who are frustrated of media getting facts incorrect. Following Elliptic, Chainanalysis, and other debunkings, the WSJ could easily have revised their reporting. But it has chosen not to, despite the fact that it has a direct impact on policymaking at the highest levels.
That is an indictment of the mainstream media as well as a confirmation of Sinclair’s dictum. The only logical explanation for Warren, the WSJ, and others continuing to promote a blatantly false notion is that they do not want to know the reality. It’s inconvenient for their ambitions and egos, so they keep telling lies.
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